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Milwaukee Bucks boycott game five (Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
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NBA Players Boycott Trio Of Playoff Games

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Neither the Milwaukee Bucks nor Orlando Magic took the floor Tuesday for their scheduled game five playoff game. As the pregame countdown clock expired, neither team was on the floor for pregame introductions. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks intend to boycott the game in protest after Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot by police in Wisconsin on Sunday.

“The Bucks players made this decision in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin,” Wojnarowski tweeted. “Ultimately deciding that they wouldn’t leave the locker room for the start of Game 5 against Orlando.”

The Magic were on the floor but left during warmups just minutes before the game was set to begin. The Bucks television broadcast showed league officials outside of the team’s locker room while players sat in boycott inside.

Discussions around boycotting games caught steam Tuesday as members of the NBA Players Association met with the players to discuss the logistics of sitting out games.

“We can’t do anything [in Orlando],” Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill said. “I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are.”

Players from the Toronto Raptors discussed boycotting game one of their second-round series with the Boston Celtics.

“Would it be nice if, in a perfect world we all say we’re not playing,” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet said. “And the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks — that’s going to trickle down if he steps up to the plant and puts pressure on the district attorney’s office, and the state’s attorney, and governors, and politicians there to make real change and get some justice.”

NBA Issues Statement on Boycott

The NBA issued a statement after the boycott on the game was announced.

“The NBA and the NBPA today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – MIL-ORL, HOU-OKC and LAL-POR have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.”

Bucks Have History As Victims Of Racial Profiling

Blake was shot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, roughly 40 miles from where the Bucks play their home games. But this isn’t the first time members of the Bucks organization have been affected by racial profiling in the state.

In 2015, a jewelry store employee called the police when Bucks center John Henson saying he wasn’t “a legitimate customer.” The employee hid from sight as Henson rang the doorbell until police arrived.

In a now deleted Instagram post, Henson detailed the interaction.

“This was one of the the most degrading and racially prejudice things I’ve ever experienced in life and wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Henson wrote. “This store needs to be called out and that’s what I’m doing . You have no right to profile someone because of their race and nationality and this incident needs to be brought to light.”

The store owner later apologized to Henson.

In 2018, Bucks guard Sterling Brown was tased by police in Milwuakee during a stop for a parking violation in a pharmacy parking lot. Brown filed a lawsuit against the department for excessive force, and one of the officers involved in the incident was fired for posting racially insensitive comments on social about Brown.

More Games Being Boycotted

After the Bucks decided to boycott game five, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are also choosing to boycott their game five meeting on Wednesday, as are the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Lakers according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Players have been outspoken on the matter of social justice during the NBA’s restart in Orlando.

Players have worn phrases supporting social justice matters on the backs of their jerseys, while the court’s in Orlando are emboldened with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”


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